Social Responsibility

Building a Better Tomorrow - Clayton & The Arbor Day Foundation

March 25, 2024

Through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation®, Clayton is helping build a better tomorrow for people and the planet we call home.

Recognizing that forests are vital to the long-term sustainability of our planet and understanding our responsibility as global citizens, Clayton and the Arbor Day Foundation launched an important partnership to plant trees in forests of great need. These reforestation efforts are taking place in strategic locations to help restore vital ecosystems and foster a long-term, sustainable impact. The impacts of these reforestation efforts lead to cleaner water, improved air quality and help to foster biodiversity.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, Clayton committed to plant 4.47 million trees by 2025. The partnership is planting these trees on either national parks, public land, private conservation easements or in forests managed by a non-governmental organization (NGO). To date, over 4.165 million trees have been planted with support from Clayton.

NEW ADF q1 Update

In 2024, 950,000 trees will be planted in the following project areas:

-Legacy Coal Mine Reforestation: This project aims to give the trees a hand by reestablishing once-prevalent forest habitats to former surface coal mines in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia that are now dominated by dense grass and shrubs. This includes planting species such as red spruce, upland oak, hickory, and shortleaf pine. As these trees grow, they will help provide habitat for small mammals and birds, including at-risk species like the northern goshawk and the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. The nearby headwaters of Shavers Fork and New River will also see the benefits of this planting, including reduced sedimentation, increased oxygen, and cooler waters for the region’s aquatic life.

-Alabama and Texas Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration: Longleaf pine, once the dominant tree species in the South, has now dwindled to cover only small patches of land. That loss of ecosystem has been devastating to the nearly 600 animal and plant species that depend on it. Efforts are underway to restore longleaf pine forests primarily on private lands throughout the region. This work will help reduce forest fragmentation and protect endangered and threatened wildlife including the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, and gopher tortoise.

-Ozark-St. Francis National Forest: In the Ozark Highlands, shortleaf pine once dominated the landscape. Unfortunately, several centuries of timber harvesting, land use changes, and disease and pests have stripped the region of its shortleaf pine-dominant stands. Less than 10% of the shortleaf pine’s historic canopy cover remains. Efforts are underway within the Ozark–St. Francis National Forests to help restore this native forest cover. This ongoing work is focused on reestablishing shortleaf pine — helping to create a forested landscape that is more resilient to drought and other disturbances while providing critical habitat for area wildlife.

-Eglin Air Force Base: Eglin Air Force Base spans nearly 500,000 acres of the Florida Panhandle. Along with being a key military training headquarters, it’s also one of the most biodiverse areas in the country and contains the largest remaining contiguous stand of longleaf pine trees in the world. Widespread restoration efforts are needed to keep the land within Eglin Air Force Base thriving for generations to come. Newly planted longleaf pine trees across the base will help reduce forest.

-Georgia Tree Planting Program: Private landowners in Georgia own more than 90% of the state’s forestland. Through the years, this forest canopy has become fragmented, developed, and converted to other land uses. A partnership with the Georgia Forestry Commission and property owners is focused on restoring the land to its natural state. Native loblolly, slash, and longleaf pine will be planted, helping to provide fire-tolerance as well as habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife including the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, and gopher tortoise.

-Idaho Panhandle National Forest: Wildfire restoration efforts within the Idaho Panhandle National Forest have been ongoing since the Breezy Fire in 2015. Upcoming reforestation efforts are focused on ensuring tree species diversity for future forest resilience. A mix of six different types of conifers will be planted to help enhance overall canopy recovery, improve watershed health, and provide habitat for a variety of animal species including bears, moose, elk, and wolves.

-Bladen Lakes State Forest: Spanning more than 33,000 acres, Bladen Lakes State Forest is the largest state-owned forest in North Carolina. While it offers an array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, this land also serves as an education and research space for universities and other related agencies. Reforestation efforts were carried out to support the overall health of the forest ecosystem. A native mix of loblolly pine and longleaf pine were used to supplement existing tree stands and replace nonnative slash pines. This work helped ensure a sustainable future for the forest as well as improved habitat for many different species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. In particular, the added native pines will support the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Through this restoration, the forest can continue to offer educational tours and recreational activities in addition to all the environmental benefits trees provide.

-Superior National Forest: Chippewa National Forest has faced many issues in recent history, including strong wind events, insects, and disease. The result is an acute need for reforestation. Replanting efforts will reestablish native tree species, help provide essential habitat for area wildlife including the American bald eagle, Aland improve forest stand resilience to climate change.

The partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is part of Clayton’s purpose of opening doors to a better life, which extends beyond the homes we build to the planet we call home. Our commitment to a sustainable future includes responsible building practices, impactful philanthropic partnerships, paid time off for team member volunteer opportunities and leaving a legacy of environmental stewardship.

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